October 3 2022 3:37 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Israel says US knew about outlawing Palestinian civil groups

3 egypt new
A Palestinian protester waves a national flag, as others perform the Friday prayers during a demonstration against the establishment of illegal settlements, east of Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on October 22, 2021. Israel on Friday outlawed leading civil society groups in Palestine. (Photo: AFP)
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel said Saturday the United States had been informed in advance on its decision to designate six Palestinian civil society groups as “terrorist organizations”, after criticism from the State Department.اضافة اعلان

The Israeli defense ministry had on Friday made public its move to effectively outlaw the six prominent Palestinian civil society groups over alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group blacklisted by several Western governments.

The decision was swiftly condemned by the Palestinian Authority and international human rights groups, with the US saying it would be “engaging our Israeli partners for more information,” regarding the basis for these designations.

“The Israeli government did not give us advance warning” that the groups would be designated, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Friday.
But an official in the Israeli defense ministry said Saturday that “officials in the US administration were updated ahead of time,” and “some intelligence was shared on the subject.”

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, reiterated the ties between the six groups and the PFLP, including “forging documents for the purpose of raising donations” for the leftist group, which pioneered plane hijackings in the 1970s.

The six groups also “facilitated the recruitment of activists to the military arm of the PFLP,” the official said, essentially constituting a “lifeline for the PFLP in the form of fundraising, money laundering and recruitment of activists.”

The ministry named the groups as the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and the Union Of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC).

Shawan Jabarin, head of Al-Haq, said the Israeli move was the part of long-term campaign “targeting Palestinian institutions in order to silence and frighten them.” 

“We are a professional organization, a human rights organization, with 42 years of field work,” he told AFP on Saturday.

Jabarin claimed Israel couldn’t handle the legal challenges Al-Haq posed, and was therefore “challenging us in the field by killing, bombing, lockdowns, and destruction.”

“We expect the countries that officially support us to take a clear position,” he said. “It is time for a serious and strong stand against (Israel), which does not recognize international law and does not abide by humanitarian rules.”

The Israeli move was also condemned Saturday by dozens of Israel-based rights groups advocating for Palestinian rights.

The so-called “Palestinian Civil society organizations in Israel” said the move was aimed at “intimidating” donors, claiming “misleading information” was behind the decision.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, some 30 employees of international NGOs, including eight new group heads, were stuck abroad awaiting permits to enter Israel, AFP has learned.

Read more Region and World